Mrunal Manmay Dash

The truckers of Keonjhar on Monday observed a 24-hour bandh in the district demanding cancellation of the railway project connecting Gandhamardan B Mines operated by the OMC.

They alleged that the project from Suakathi to Guhaldihi would render them jobless as all the iron ores would be carried by trains.

The bandh was supported by the Keonjhar Merchants Association and 15 other organisations in the district.

“We have called on this bandh protesting railway connectivity to Gandhamardan Mines. This railway project has been planned to make Keonjhar district poorer. Almost everybody in Keonjhar except Joda block depends on Gandhamardan mines of OMC. This railway project will affect around 3-4 lakh people of the district. I request the government to cancel this project,” demanded a protesting truck owner at the Keonjhar railway station.

“The government has not done anything to provide employment for the youths of Keonjhar. So we are forced to take loans worth lakhs of rupees to buy trucks and transport iron ores. Not only the truck owners, but many other families also depend on a truck for their livelihood. The economy of Keonjhar will collapse with this railway project and it will make thousands of unemployed youths go penniless,” said another young truck owner.

Essential services have been excluded from the purview of bandh.

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